Posted on 2 July 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei




The Noitamina time-slot surely rocked beyond belief this season. Alongside Sarai-ya Goyou aired the possibly even better Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei, the latest product of Masaaki Yuasa of Kaiba-fame. This time, he went for a ton-of-dialogue artsy character-study slash college life series, in which we follow the lead character as he explores a wide variety of different clubs and lifestyles during his years in college throughout many parallel dimensions. And it works out wonderfully.

At first sight, the way in which this series keeps resetting itself after every episode may seem weird at first, but it actually was a brilliant method to flesh out its different characters. Because of its very frequent resets, this stands out even more than series that did similar things in the past, like Higurashi and Umineko. Because of this, we get to see a ton of different sides of the characters that would never have been able to been shown without these resets, and the most important part is that we see Watashi develop in many different ways throughout each episode. The different side-characters all have their own parts to play in Watashi (the lead character)’s world and everything comes together wonderfully in the final episodes.

All of this is accompanied by some truly excellent dialogue. This series is based on an actual novel, rather than a manga or light novel, and it really shows. The dialogue is incredibly fast and you really need to pay attention to keep up with it, but as a narration it offers very detailed descriptions of the situations that Watashi finds himself in, which is nearly always very imaginative in the ways that it does so, with quite a number of witty remarks.

One potential pitfall could have been for the series to lose itself in either its dialogue and visuals, but neither happens. There are a ton of details stuffed into this series in order to make all episodes stand out, but in the same way the main message and characters remain deceptively simple on the outside. In comparison, while Kuchuu Buranko felt a bit like a loose cannon at times, every moment of Yojou-han is instead meant to bring colour to the life in which Watashi is living, and build up for the episodes that are still to come. Because the huge amount of building up, the first half of this series is decidedly less impressive than the second half, but the build-up is definitely worth it.

It’s a series that doesn’t try to provoke the biggest emotional response, but as a character-study it really stands out as a minor masterpiece here, in the way that it very subtly manages to flesh out and characterize its entire cast. Especially after the final episodes, it stands out as my favourite show of the series that premiered during the past spring season.

Storytelling: 10/10 – Fresh, and varied, skillfully combining repetition with new ideas to flesh itself out. Top notch narration.
Characters: 9/10 – The formula really allows the characters to come alive and show many different sides of themselves.
Production-Values: 9/10 – It’s Masaaki Yuasa. Do I need to say anything more?
Setting: 9/10 – Spoilerific to go in detail here but yeah: this one rocks too.

Suggestions:
Mind Game (another one of those movies that I’d review entirely different if I were to watch it today)
Amatsuki
Revolutionary Girl Utena

Posted on with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



Well, so here it finally is: the ending I’ve been looking forward to the most this season. And indeed: this really was the best ending of the season for me. It was a wonderful wrap up of all of the build-up that this series has done.

So in this episode, Watashi continues to wander through all of the parallel worlds of his own life that he’s been trapped in, but the big difference with the previous episode was that he finally starts piecing everything together in an attempt to get out of that maze in which he can only eat castella and fish burgers that are lying around.

Most of this episode actually was a summary of what happened in the previous episodes, but by finally thinking about them and piecing everything together, Watashi finally started to notice that Mochigumo that kept hanging above him. Like expected, that was indeed the opportunity that kept dangling in front of him. That part really was the only potential pitfall of this episode: many shows have failed with such a cheesy romantic conclusion, but the way in which Watashi finally realized that he developed a crush over Akashi was well portrayed, and subtle. In fact, his entire confession was wonderfully different from what you usually see. It wasn’t dramatic at all, and instead just felt very natural. Or as natural as you can get a guy to act, wearing nothing but a scarf and talking about disappearing underpants.

Instead, the dramatic climax was… about Oz. Watashi finally came to terms with Oz as a character, and accepted him for who he was. Interestingly, Oz’s facial expression also completely changed here. It shows even more that we see all of this from the perspective of Watashi, in which he’s this evil bastard and therefore also has this continuous grin on his face. the same goes for the fortune teller: she also looks totally different now.

Overall though, it’s awesome to see that Masaaki Yuasa is constantly trying to improve himself. The big weakness of Kaiba was its rushed ending, so here instead he comes with a perfectly planned out series across eleven episodes, in which the final episode is really meant to give closure to everything. Whether Yojou-han surpassed Kaiba… nah. The rest of Kaiba was just that good. Nevertheless, Yojou-han was a really well written character-study that has a good chance of becoming the most unique series of 2010.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 26 June 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



This episode was brilliant, there’s no other way to it. it’s THE proof that this very much was a series that was building up to its conclusion right from the beginning, and now that everything is coming together, it has just surpassed itself. It’s without a doubt my favourite episode of Yojou-han so far. Really, out of all the endings this season, I’m looking forward to the final episode of this series the most.

So in this episode we were promised that finally Watashi would break through the tradition of joining random clubs and pushing reset buttons, but I’m very pleasantly surprised with how he actually did it. Instead of running after a whimsical dream, he just gives up. He spends god knows how long in his own room, and eventually he ends up trapped in a maze full of endless parallel worlds of this room.

I loved how the creators portrayed Watashi and his confusion as he tried to make sense of his situation. It’s interesting how he just doesn’t speak in this episode aside from just one line: all we hear are just some grunts and his inner monologues, which seemed to be wittier and more descriptive than ever here. Especially the scenes in which he just tried to waste time were priceless in how down to earth they were.

In the end, this indeed is a series about parallel worlds: worlds that can change depending on even the slightest decisions that you can make different. Even in the current world, there were aspects that returned in other worlds, like the Castella. Oh, and the cockroach trick “backfired” with some hilarious result. What’s also interesting is that Watashi usually hardly ever was at home. In all of the rooms that the Watashi of this episode crossed, he only came across himself once (also explaining why that weird man with a beard appeared: it wasn’t exactly an older version, just a version of Watashi who refused to shave).

It’s also interesting how Oz doesn’t seem to be the main bad guy of this series after all. This also could be expected after the previous episode, but it seems that Oz is just another characters in all of the universes that Watashi takes place in. This anime really is a journey of self-discovery for Watashi. The main concept wouldn’t be that different if Oz weren’t there, and the biggest difference is that Watashi didn’t have someone to put him down to earth by reminding him what an idiot he is.

Now, this really is a series that’s perfect for the short airtime of 11 episodes: it’s short but focused, and knows what it’s building up to. Those are often the most successful short series, compared to the ones that either just cut off, or try to do just too much in too little time. That will make for enjoyable series, but not the masterpieces like Yojou-han and Kaiba because it can never get really in-depth about its characters.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 19 June 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



This was just awesome, the way in which everything came together in this episode, and there still are two episodes left for Yojou-han’s conclusion. This episode took events from all of the previous episodes and wove them masterfully into one.

Very different from usual, Watashi ended up being a bad guy here, rather than joining a regular club. It was some sort of evil society that was responsible for the rounding up of bikes in episode three. I think that this was the first time he really made Akashi angry here. In fact, we get confirmation that she’s still a member of the same clubs as she’s ever been in, and we get more and more a confirmation that every episode is the same, aside from which club Watashi decides to enter. The previous three episodes were special in the way that he wasn’t too involved in these clubs (an English club and reading club… yeah), which allowed him to explore love a bit more, instead of getting all caught up with these clubs here.

In all of these episodes, he met Akashi in different ways, because they pretty much were in the same campus, and she happened to live next to Ozu. Ozu on the meantime… I really begin to suspect that he was involved in everything here, from the tennis club to being Higuchi’s disciple to being the captain of the lucky cat Chinese restaurant. The reason he was involved in the cult in episode five was because his girlfriend was that raven-haired maiden that Watashi was chasing after back then; that’s why he crashed that airship. This episode finally revealed all of his motivations.

There was one big difference here though, that doesn’t really fit into the canon of the other episodes: Watashi did NOT find Akashi’s Mochiguman, but instead Ozu went after it. Could this be a hint that Watashi is getting further and further away from her, and that he’s just failing to notice what’s right in front of him? This episode does show that now that he finally found wealth and power he still feels like he’s missing something, which was pretty much the first time he acknowledged this.

Also, this episode did NOT feature a rewind. Instead we just have Watashi sulking in his room. I think that out of all the conclusions this season, Yojou-han is the one I’m looking forward to the most. There are just so many ways in which it can go, and I really feel like the creators have been carefully building up towards that ending.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 12 June 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



What am amazing conclusion to the love triangle arc. Seriously, Sarai-ya Goyou has really gotten some serious competition for my favourite series of the season, I really love the way in which Masaaki Yuasa has been delivering this series so far. This episode was nearly again the exact same as the previous two, only with the focus on Keiko, Watashi’s pen-pal, and a different conclusion.

The past arc has been brilliant in making everything spiral out of control. It’s THE proof that repetition doesn’t need to be bad, provided that you use it well. There have been tons of series who did amazing things with it (Utena, Higurashi, Jigoku Shoujo and Umineko, and it’s very interesting to see Yojou-han joining them.

I think we all knew that Keiko was actually Oz, the moment he handed Watashi that magazine, in which he found Keiko’s address. Part of what made this episode so much fun though was the way in which he was so genuinely enamoured with her. The look on his face (and especially the dialogue that went on inside his head) at the moment he found out that he had been exchanging love letters with Oz was priceless.

Akaishi’s role in everything also turned out to be very interesting in the past arc. The big difference with the previous arcs is that Watashi actually did something nice for her, instead of ignoring her (that was probably the meaning of the promise-scene of the earlier episodes: it’s to show that the two actually fit each other quite well, but because Watashi is so incredibly dense he never made any advances on her and forgot about his promises to her). Also, she’s living next to Oz.

Seriously, now that prediction that Higuchi made back into that first episode gets a new dimension with this. Who knows how often they hooked up with each other while Watashi was messed up in his umpth weird idea? We’ve heard of Oz’s girlfriend before, but have we actually seen her once? And again: Johnny was no use in this episode, and Watashi again left her. But then again, he really was in love with the image of Keiko he created. That’s the really weird part here: his love for Hanuki felt a bit shallow. Instead however, he has been genuinely in love with two women who didn’t exist. In fact, Watashi is a guy who just keeps chasing after these abstracts that don’t really exist, instead of looking what’s right in front of him: something concrete that can make him happy. Johnny turned out to be the complete opposite of this: not looking far away, but instead just trying to go after what’s right in front of him.

I really wonder what those final episodes will be about: how will they put everything to a conclusion? This is Masaaki Yuasa. For the sake of spoilers I’ll be vague in this, but ‘certain’ series of his have had really… ‘interesting’ endings.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 4 June 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



Awesome, this is exactly as I hoped: this show just continues to get better and better. Screw the repetition, every episode manages to add ten new things for everything it recaps. I was a bit fearful of the prospect of having an episode more similar to its predecessor than ever (who knows, perhaps it might even have pulled a “Seraphim Call”), but this episode very skillfully took the the previous episode, and built further upon it.

The overall scenario is pretty much the same as in the previous episode, it’s just the focus and ending are different. Instead we gloss over Hanuki and the pen pal, and instead this episode is about the love triangle around between Watashi, Jougasaki and the love doll. Oh, and Johnny. He has gotten way more extreme with this episode.

This episode really was masterfully written, not just how Watashi’s feelings kept spiralling out of control, but also that Jougasaki kept entrusting Kaori more and more to Watashi in a surprisingly similar way as how we’ve seen him in the second episode. On top of that there were also a ton of parallels with that proxy proxy war of episode four. Seriously, it felt like Ozu kept pestering him even without Watashi’s help. That could explain why he’s been so relatively absent in the past few episodes. It would be pretty awesome if he was some kind of ever-present prankster.

The next episode will be about the pen pal. the end of this episode even hinted at that. But what about episode 10 and 11? Especially Akashi had a really weird role in these episodes, as she was supposed to be the female love interest and instead Watashi has chosen three other girls to fall in love with. Will episode 10 actually be the same as these past two episodes, but on the perspective of Akashi?

It makes me think about the one oddball episode about this series: the one about Higuchi’s disciple. All of the other episodes were about portraying Watashi as some sort of socially awkward loser: the past two episodes were all about his desire to remain pure, and the other episodes really all stressed what a social dork he is. That episode was different, though. His life was miserable there not because of his own actions, but rather only because he ended up choosing the wrong club at the beginning of his university life. That proxy-proxy war was completely different from Watashi’s other struggles, not to mention that really weird scene in which Higuchi suddenly started riding a giant whale.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 28 May 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei




This episode finally introduces that strange cowboy we’ve been seeing in the OP. Guess what his name is? I really thought that it was some kind of Euphemism that Eden of the East came up with, but here we’ve got another show that comes up with that strange nickname.

In any case, this episode was just awesome, by far the best of Yojou-han yet. It was a masterfully written romance that felt incredibly refreshing when compared to all of the uninspired high school romances out there. It’s the episode that finally gets a close look at Hanuki, the dentist assistant. Watashi meanwhile is in the middle of a really weird love polygon in which he often hangs out with her after club activities (this time it’s the English Club, at which for once he doesn’t suck… or at least feel out of place at), exchanges letters with a mysterious girlfriend whose identity we never really learn and somehow ended up taking care of Jougasaki. Hanuki in the meantime also hangs out with Jougasaki and it’s heavily implied that Master is her boyfriend.

The reason this episode rocked so much was how well it got into Watashi’s head for this episode. Especially when the liquor popped up everything kept spiralling out of control masterfully. I’m not exactly a fan of Johnny’s voice actor, but nevertheless it shows what a genius Masaaki Yuawa is at portraying chaos.

Ozu this time was interesting again, in the way that he was very much out of the picture for the biggest part of this episode. He’s still causing trouble, but it’s affecting Watashi less and less: he actually got close to three girls other than Watashi here. Speaking of which: she never made an appearance at all. This was a very interesting episode of Watashi, experimenting with other women than what this series made out to be his “true love”; very refreshing.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 21 May 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



It’s of course easy to immediately start comparing this show to Kaiba, however I opted not to do this for the first four episodes. Simply, because that would not be fair. Kaiba was a stellar series, and amongst my favourites. Expecting the same would just be unrealistic. The interesting thing about anime is that beforehand you almost never know which shows will turn out to be the best. Even more, Kaiba had a stellar first episode. Yojou-han instead was completely focused on building up. Kaiba sold me with its incredibly creative back-story and its gripping narrative. Yojou-han instead has its dialogue, repetition and wit. With a series as Durarara, you can see that it tried to look like Baccano at times, however Yojou-han makes no attempt at trying to catch in on Kaiba’s… um… popularity.

This show is weird: we’re still stuck in those random campus life stories. In this episode, Watashi ends up in a hippie-cult full of peace-loving flower-children that look a lot like scienology. It’s another story of how he completely throws away his first two years at college, just in an attempt to fit in. It’s actually very similar to the third episode in which he couldn’t fit into the cyclist club because he wasn’t athletic, here too he couldn’t fit into the softball club because he wasn’t one of those people who always look at the bright side of life. Here things got carried way more out of control though, because Ozu was surprisingly absent here. He for once only caused trouble that helped Watashi.

What’s also interesting is that Akashi still is Higuchi’s disciple. Her role seems to be all over the place, it seems. Sometimes she ends up joining the same club as Watashi, sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she’s straight-up his love interest, but this episode has him chasing after someone completely different. I think a key is also that she’s a year younger than him, so by the time that she gets to join college he’s also completely involved in whatever stupid club he’s involved in. I think a major theme in this show has been the contrast between Watashi’s image of romance, between the types of girls that he’s actually interested in. Watashi ends up in such a huge mess every time because his expectations of college life are completely different, and instead of choosing a club that fits him he instead keeps choosing clubs that fits the romantic image that he has in his head. He just is an anti-social character, and I’m beginning to think that Ozu and Akashi always end up with him because they too aren’t fond of socializing and doing regular college stuff.

I also labelled Watashi as a loser once, but that also doesn’t quite turn out to be the truth. He can be quite successful when he wants to: he can train and become very muscular, he can make a lot of money through jobs, he can put together an entire movie on his own. It’s not like he’s not good at anything, he just doesn’t use his energy at the right places and instead wastes it on stupid stuff that only make his life miserable.

In any case, what I’m trying to say here is that Yojou-han episodes have this weird effect. Especially this one. Overall this episode was enjoyable, though nothing special when you get past the styles. There were a number of interesting jokes, plus the critique at scientology also had its moments, but it’s nothing that I would label amongst Giant Killing and Sarai-ya Goyou as my favourite of this season. However the final few minutes in a Yojou-han episode are very often the best ones. We get to see the point at which Watashi snaps and turns back time, but the whole episode also comes together surprisingly clever. This episode even added to the previous episode (explaining that the 20000 leagues under sea novel and the globe actually were from Watashi and he thought that Ozu stole them).

The weirdest thing here was this future version of Watashi suddenly popping up. Was this just symbolism, or is this going to continue more often? In any case I must say that I was right in not expecting too much from the first few episodes of this, because after a few episodes that may not have been the most exciting I’m getting more and more excited about this series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 13 May 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



This series was already a bit surreal at times, but this episode took it even farther. The visual symbolism in this episode was just all over the place, and it loved pulling all kinds of weird visual references to events that were happening, the most obvious being the point at which Higuchi started singing.

It was a really weird episode, and probably the hardest one to understand so far due to all of the things that were thrown at us, ranging from the scavenger hunt for the weird brush to the rock-paper-scissors match at the end.

Watashi wasn’t exactly a loser here, as much as a devout follower of Higuchi and his weird ideas. Ozu this time was the bastard in the way that he was playing a bit of a double spy. They’re far less extreme than in the previous episodes, but I think that that’s because of Higuchi’s influence at work, who kept them at bay. Ozu could only be a small bastard, because for some reason it seemed impossible to really make Higuchi’s life bad.

I’m also very curious about the next episode. Wasn’t this series supposed to be just about four stories? Could that mean that we’re going to revisit the tennis club again in the next episode? Overall, the status quo in this series seems to be two deaths of Watashi, one life in hiding, and one life wasted on some weird guy.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 6 May 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei




This series really is why I love episodic series. The bad ones obviously suck beyond belief, but when shows like this one make optimal use of them they can really turn into something unique, and the short stories can allow for ideas that would normally not fit within a linear storyline. A lot of things have to be done right in order to get a good episodic series, though, but to me the key seems to be creativity, along with somehow finding a way to build-up: connecting the different episodes together. I believe that if these aren’t present, you’re just better off with a linear storyline in order to get the best out of your characters. But Yojou-han has both of them.

This seems to me a study of all types of losers. Watashi is socially inept throughout all the episodes, but every time it is in a different way. In the previous episodes he created his own problems by his pranks, but in this episode he just was another one of those losers who didn’t fit in because he had no athletic skills. Ozu instead of trying to get him into his pranks instead left him completely out of it for once. Interestingly though, I do believe that Watashi’s character has remained the same throughout the first three episodes: what we just see is him, reacting to different situations in a different way. That definitely is one interesting way of character-development. You can see his reckless parts in the way that he flew into his death at the end of this episode: it’s exactly those parts that we saw in episode two when he created that crazy video.

Whether Akashi and Ozu are the same… I’m not sure yet. This episode showed that Yojou-han is a show in which Watashi, Akashi and Ozu hop between different clubs, all three with their own agendas, while the rest remains constant. The actor of the previous episode still is an actor here. Akashi in this episode proves that she’s actually a very good cyclist. In this episode she loses her strap again, but there’s no promise scene. The cake is also gone. She’s a lot less cold than what she was in the first two episodes as well, it seems. As for Ozu, if he indeed also is the same character in every episode, then he strikes me as a guy who always grabs every opportunity to make someone’s life miserable, finding the right allies to accompany him. In this episode there probably already was some sort of bike-stealing club, which is why he didn’t really need Watashi. The second episode in contrast only needed him to show what a guy that actor really was: Watashi himself just did the rest.

Either way, I love the concept of this series: showing how the same people in different settings can be so different.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
There was a troll review or at least I hope its a troll review (because I don't want to believe it could be true) review on imdb from some Christian nutter who disliked it for religious reasons.
Lenlo
@Masky, yeah the portrayal of the church was very one dimensional in this. Probably a victim of the short run time, but possibly not.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am as a thirty year old man shamelessly shamelessly looking forward to Nanoha reflections when it comes out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the film's from the guy who directed GitS SAC so yeah I will give it a watch if I have a chance
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Do we care about this? : https://myanimelist.net/anime/33204/Hirune_Hime__Shiranai_Watashi_no_Monogatari its being screened over here next week I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I will read Crecy and plenatary then.
Masky
Anyhoo, I did like netflix Castlevania too, but I can't help but feel that Warren Ellis seems like sort of atheist who let's their opinion on christianity out in tract-y ways :D I mean, not that medieval catholic church wasn't corrupt, but that element isn't really from the games so it gotta come from him and it feels weakest aspect of the show.
Masky
@AidanAK47: Castlevania's story would make for good children's action show or cheesy action movie though :D Like, yeah, games are rather story thin(when they aren't melodramatic) but concept of Castlevania's story isn't that bad for a series.
AidanAK47
@Anon, with luck that new KonoSuba anime project is a third season. I didn't realize the Season 2 OVA just came out.
Anonymous1290766
Kono Suba ftw
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, there are some good moments even after the Shark jump but yeah, all downhill from here.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: it was a captivating jump, wasn't it?
Lenlo
I think I hit the shark jump in Kado.
reaLjustified
Koi to Uso....kind of as vanilla a romance story can get, and that premise doesn’t do anything for me after Sakura Sakura. Honestly the star-crossed love worked better with Nisekoi.
Lenlo
Well they were a good series of episodes, so guess it was a success
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Already has got one. Second season with 8 episodes is coming. Honestly makes me think that it's really the rest of season one and these four episodes were gauging the audience.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I believe it has been re-newed.
Lenlo
@Aidan, yeah. Its way better than I thought. The VA for some characters is just great, I actually liked Belmont alot. I really hope it gets a 2nd season, because Dracula was also great
AidanAK47
@Mario, Well you do write for STAR CROSSED anime blog. Maybe that's a factor.
SuperMario
@Aidan: "What is a man" huh? It's fun to listen to actually :)
SuperMario
I can't believe it myself... but I get sucked into the story of Koi to Uso. Yesterday was reading the manga until 2am (and I hd to wake up at 6.30 for work). SINCE WHEN FORCED CONTRIVED STAR-CROSSED ROMANCE BECOME MY THING? I blame those big eyes.
AidanAK47
I mean the best game in the series has dialogue like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMTizJemHO8
AidanAK47
@Masky, Castlevaina games are never played for their story. If anything the story is usually the weakest element. When I heard of this series before I thought it was ridiculous because the story of the games was too weak to make into a good story.
Masky
Better than any right to be? Like I know that video game adaptions usually suck, but surely that doesn't mean that being video game adaption itself is qualification for being bad? :p
AidanAK47
I will see if I can do a write up on Castlevaina tommarrow but yeah for a video game adaption it's better than it has any right to be. I think the reason for that is Warren Ellis.
Lenlo
Castlevania actually has good action scenes too. Very pretty.
Lenlo
The Netflix Castlevania series, one episode in so far, is actually pretty good. It does justice to the old series, more than any other videogame adaptation ive seen.
SuperMario
And I know this is way off the mark but whenever I hear Baltimore I'm thinking of Beach House band
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I feel you that the action scenes feel no weight.
Lenlo
Three degrees of Nazi. We always get there somehow
Lenlo
The story seems setting up to repeat to me as well, with the mutant/normie racial problems. Hopefully the Reflection event/mystery over takes that though.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Vatican's mysteries have gotten to a ridiculous level. This week throws up sexual abuse, drug use, corruption and somehow Nazis are involved as well. It's just too much for me
Lenlo
They could have kept the comic book feel though by doing what Ping Pong did, with the panel layouts. I feel the low framerate did nothing but hurt it. Had the action scenes been done differently it could have worked, but it was a traditional fight scene so it didnt work.
SuperMario
Speaking of 18if, I still consider that show an experiment wreck, but a fascinating wreck it will
SuperMario
I don't really mind the low frame rate in the Reflection. I think the choice is deliberated to resemble the comic motion. I'm more worried about the story as they have some random fights that I feel even more dreamy than 18if
Lenlo
@Kaiser, I quite liked the Reflections art but the animation, or lack thereof, held it back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Once again my anime taste falls in with Marios =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though you can only imagine if shinbo or Yuasa were to work on 18...if.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although I do think 18..if is exactly what I need right now, I am not certain it will top flipflappers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The premise for ballroom is of no interest to me.
I’m hearing Vatican is quite silly in a campy horror way
which appeals to me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While visually the show seemed to improve with episode 3, I wasn’t all that emotionally invested with that story.
I would take this protagonist over IdiotMCx100 any day.
Kaiser-Eoghan
18..if is the most interesting thing I’ve looked into so far, largely due to it being the most un-conventional/abnormal, the concept interests me and poor as the animation is , the worlds it shows/creates, the imagination of the show gets close to forgiving that, as it was the most macabre, episode 2 has been my favourite so far.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I’ve begun (at last)checking out some of the series airing this season.
The reflections style is complete push away/turn off for me. I feel made in abyss could grow into something and I’d like it to actually properly get going/start, the buildup is slightly dull.
K-Off
@Vonter Graces is nothing compared to the pandering mess that Symphonia 2 was. Just embarrassing.
SuperMario
"There's a white house waiting for us in Casablanca" haha, can't help but laugh at its wordplay
Lenlo
Im planning on mentioning it, but yeah. Alot of the combat didnt really have an 'impact' to them. There are other shows, like Ping Pong, that I think do this sort of style better, if alittle differently.
Anonymous1283104
I think the main issue was the animation being kind of simple, the scenes didnt have 'motion'
Lenlo
@Anon, yeah The Reflection moved at the pace of a glacier. The art style was unique and should have lead to good looking fights, but instead it moved at the pace of a glacier. Ill have a write up on it later today
KTravlos
very nice episode of Virgin Soul. Really liked seeing Favoro look like Favoro again.
Vonter
Tales of Graces sadly might have the most childish, and pandering story of the series.
Vonter
AidanAK47 - Tales of Graces worked around having to both attack and defend to continue attacking. If just attacked you made less and weaker attacks. It was a way of cooldown that was more reliant on the player thinking about the attacks it used. Later games followed a more typical cooldown and combined special attacks with the regular ones.
Anonymous1282493
Reflection was kinda painful to watch, I didn't expect anything in the first place and was disappointed nonetheless.
Lenlo
I cant snowboard or ski at all so its ok.
SuperMario
I did hit my head on the ground (for the first time) but I was lucky that I was wearing helmet. I curse S turn
SuperMario
@lenlo: it's fun but it's a lot of pain as well.
Lenlo
Sounds like fun
SuperMario
I'm literally covered in snow right now with my butt numbed. Will get back home in few hours to catch up on 18if
Lenlo
Havnt had the chance to watch it yet, but Reflection apparently looks like a comic book but has weird fight scenes? Ill get that write up tomorrow once I watch it tonight.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*hear
Jesus Christ what happened to my spelling
AidanAK47
That's one of the things that mainly turned me off. The battle system is essentially button mashing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The regular complaint I here from Tales of naysayers is a dislike of the battle mechanics/system.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I avoided the anime adaptations of the tales games mostly because I assumed they presumed previous knowledge of the games. I actually only saw Phantasia due to having been familiar with the games story when I was younger.
HelghastKillzone
No Re:Creators this week. I get a week off which is good since I'm stuck on an army base.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, A lot of people say Vesperia is their favorite as well. I only have played Abyss so far and was really not impressed with it.
K-Off
@Kaiser Damn, Detective Conan has a long way to go then.
K-Off
Phantasia was my first Tales game (and its anime is the best amongst anything after) but Symphonia really did take it to another level. In general I think most fans will agree with Symphonia, Abyss, and Xillia in their favorites.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I believe Kochikame is the longest running manga of all time 1,960 chapters, 200 volumes, actually does have a record.
K-Off
@Aidan I remember you saying how it's funny that no two fans of Tales will have the same favorite title. But that's definitely because Tales has changed very little over the years, and they've always been solid games, and so for most fans they'll remember the first title they played.
K-Off
@Vonter With you there. The art direction in Tales hasn't been really that exciting since Xillia, and as a long time fan of the series I finally got sick of the gameplay after Vesperia.
K-Off
Jeez, detective Conan is reaching its 1000th chapter. Pretty sure it's a milestone for some Guinness record.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Embarassing
**Here
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also agree about complaints made about the mumbled dialogue when it does occur.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think thin red line is a good thing to bring up hear as throughout much of Dunkirk I was thinking about how much more Mallick's film did for me, how I should have been re-watching that instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet at the same time I couldn't connect with it, it became repetitive, disjointed and the shots/Zimmer score towards the end were embaeassing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There were definitely aspects to praise, to be fair there is no shortage of action, it eschews exposition and tries to visually immerse the viewer to make them feel as if they are present.
Lenlo
Im ready. Reflection comes on tomorrow, so heres hopin its worth it
Anonymous1279803
it was trash. just british propaganda
Vonter
I finished Tales of Berseria. And I'm conflicted. I really liked the story and the characters, essentially a Tales of were the story is told form the perspective of the villains. I also saw the episodes Ufotable made of the beginning of the game, and I want moar. It's was a waste as game, considering the archaic and dull game design. It mainly came up to buying time in regards to things to play.
KTravlos
I also watched it. I thought it was a great war film. Very intense and unrelenting, but still at points the images reminded me of Thin Red Line. My only quip was the end. The film did a great job in getting me to feel the hopelessness the soldiers felt. So great that the attempt at making a "happy" end was forced and fell flat. Beyond that I liked it.
Anonymous1279184
I already lost interest when I saw Inception which I didn't really like. My favorite Nolan movie will always be Memento.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, saw Dunkirk, I think at this point I'm done with giving Nolan any more chances, this like his other works, I can appreciate them to some extent but come away honestly not giving a damn.
SuperMario
and this week's Sakura Quest is damn great as well... This backstory of Chitose and Kadota rocks
SuperMario
Just watching the 2nd episode of Gamers, It was actually pretty good. I can't believe they fleshing out that annoying hot guy into such a relatable guy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I recall the extent of my interest in Linkin park in my early teens was strictly the breaking the habit video and that was it.
SuperMario
The frontman of Linkin Park commited suicide by hanging himself... sad news. Never been his fan but I feel sad nonetheless
AidanAK47
Actually forgot with all the impressions and whatnot but I do believe we said we would review the Castlevania Netflix series. Now that everything has calmed down I will see if I can do a write up next week.
AidanAK47
I was busy trying to discern whether the story had any point besides "Life is shit"
Kaiser-Eoghan
Again, while I enjoyed punpun, the excessive internal narration, when marathoned, I had to take a break.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Come to think of it, I don't even have a phone that does that, haven't bought a new one since 2004.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, you see I could never force myself to browse/type/use the internet on a phone, too used to using a desktop exclusively for that.
AidanAK47
Oh bloody hell. Stupid phone autocorrect. Yeah I meant Punpun.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Read Freesia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
umi no onnanoko is probably the exact thing ninjarealist would be interested in.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*oyasumi punpun
I found it alot more accessible than nijigahara holograph. deded-demon-destruction while enjoyable, is beneath him. Solanin is probably his easiest work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I assume you man oyasui punpun. Its been about five years since I read in, the final couple of volumes stay in my mind the most, all the stuff with him, the girl and his uncle also, I love Asano Inios art and the surreal elements but I got lost/bored somewhere in the middle and most of the other side characters and the cult thing I didn't really care about.
AidanAK47
Finished reading Goodnight Pumping. Really not sure on what to think of it. The story kept me reading but it just felt really empty.
Anonymous1276500
There are 2 Nyaa's now. This one is considered the 'real' one: https://nyaa.si
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looks like anirena is down for me. Although it looks like nyaa went back up as this: https://nyaa.pantsu.cat/
SuperMario
Aidan: Fate/Apocrypha, Made in Abyss, Kakegurui
Mario: Princess Principal, 18if, Youkoso
Lenlo: Touken Ranbu, The Reflection
Wooper: Ballroom, Shoukoku no Altair
Helghast: Re:Creators
SuperMario
Note: I'm deciding to take Classroom of the Elite as my third show to cover. So, for this season we are covering 11 shows.
Vonter
Just to end, it kind of shows than even if a story is predictable on where it is going. Characters can make up for that, if they're funny, interesting, and perhaps not agreeing all the time and having different agendas and points of view despite all sharing the same boat.
Vonter
Yet as a game Tales hasn't felt deep since Symphonia, (at least from the ones I've played). I'm wondering if it'll leave me wanting check the anime of Zestiria, since apparently Berseria is a prequel to that game. And many say the anime is better than the game. (I can see why).
Vonter
I also like the reused Tales beats from Phantasia and Berseria. It those have moments like when Lloyd was exiled and Cless had his village attacked. It has clear antagonists unlike Vesperia, and trying harder than the cartoony villains of Graces.
Vonter
I've been playing Tales of Berseria, and it seems to be the anti Tales of Graces. In which I'm caring about the story and characters, but the gameplay is a drag. This is the first time I've been autoplaying an JRPG. But unlike Gravity Rush 2, I'm not dropping it because I'm liking the interactions of these characters even if it gets, campy, overdramatic, or edgy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I mean I watch anime and films subtitled but sometimes my reading speed can be slow if theres a lot of dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I do that sometimes, mostly to check for message updates or on occasion to read reviews of what I am watching or to download more/check downloads.
SuperMario
For instance, I watched Okja yesterday and I had to take 15', 20' minute break in between for snack, surfing webs and playing mobile games...
SuperMario
I watched Fanny and Alexander... don't really remember which version I watched thou. I think it's a TV version since it divides into 4 separate parts
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it just that... my attention span has shortened greatly and I just can't stay focus on movies over an hour mark. In cinema, it's alright since you can't move anywhere but now it's abig task to finish a 2 hour and a half movie for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
And is good enough to keep up the quality for that long.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'll say this, for every medium, to me the length of something isn't so much the issue, if you have a writer good enough to keep something going for ages then the length shouldn't be an issue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If something goes over three hours I treat it as a miniseries and watch one hour or two a day.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: lol if you thought thats long, have you seen the extended versions of scenes from a marriage and fanny & alexander by Bergman? I can't wait to get my hands on the tv versions I hear they're completely different.
SuperMario
Okja is pretty entertaining with pointed social commentary. I don't really feel Tilda Swinton's double roles add up much but everything else is great. Bong has never disappointed me
SuperMario
@Kaiser: good luck with Satantango then. I guess now if I watch an 8-hour long film it would take me a whole week to finish it :/
Kaiser-Eoghan
Made in abyss and vatican keep staring at me. Although I'm not chancing them yet or anything else until I hear a bit more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My once massive film backlog is nearly cleared. I can try watching stuff this season hopefully.
K-Off
Same boat here. For the first time in a long time I spent almost half the day catching up on all of my manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'll have two weeks leave, I will finally watch Satantango, all eight hours of that film.
AidanAK47
I did a double take when I saw this. One of these things is not like the other.... http://gematsu.com/2017/07/blazblue-cross-tag-battle-announced
SuperMario
Well, finally have a bit of precious free time to watch something else and I have too much things to watch. Castlevania, the final Kizumonogatari movie, live-action Okja and some books planned to read... I guess I'll go with Okja today
Ninja
Looking forward to that Dies review
Lenlo
Yaaay! Time to enjoy your blogging time
AidanAK47
And now we are up to date. Just need to finally get that Dies Irae Review posted.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Then again I'll watch almost every horror film I can, don't even mind the awful acting most have.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Pet cemetary was a guilty pleasure of mine when I was a teenager.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't know how I'd feel if I rewatched salems lot, although a positive is that it did have James Mason in it and it was done in that 70s style of slow burn horror that I love.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The IT film has aged horribly and thats one case where I would advocate a remake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Stand by me was a perftly watchable coming of age film and it surprised me, seeing a non-horror King story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Okay theres one way to settle this =P Lovecraft > all of them ;) I have actually enjoyed some King adaptations even though I know the Shining took liberties , I also enjoyed Carrie and Apt Pupil.
Lenlo
@Kaiser, please. Early King > Richard Matheson > Modern King. Kings early works were good.
Lenlo
@Aidan, its true that Monty was the mind behind the fights. Sad, but I think the other directors are starting to come into their own instead of trying to copy Monty.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But we all know Richard Matheson > King.
Kaiser-Eoghan
He did some collabs with Stephen King I believe.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Like the dead films he's trying to be thematic, although this one is clumsily put together, I kind of like how it hybridizes the 50s with 70s style exploitation, it has its moments.
Kaiser-Eoghan
hmmm the only non Dead trilogy film I've seen by Romero is the Crazies, feels like he's still finding his voice with it.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Part of the reason is that they started using better animation software. But despite that there was a downgrade in fight chorgraphy when Monty died. Though the story I find is getting better.
AidanAK47
@Kinseryu, I think it's ridiculous to everyone but there are those that choose to ignore it.
@Anon, That's a bit harsh. It is true that his later works never truly panned out but he did pretty much popularise the zombie apoc. Even if Day of the Triffids did it before him.
Lenlo
Every season RWBY gets just a little bit prettier. Rooster Teeth really does have some of the better 3D animation skills out there.
Anonymous1272531
goerge romero was a hack trying desperate to stay relevant.
Kinseryu
Tenshi3P... I thought it was just me that this show was just ridiculous by putting three ten years old girl that knows how to play electrical instruments. They are insulting the people who plays these. But good thing I found this site with your first impression. I laughed and I feel better. Lol.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: he passed away? damn. He was the Father of Zombie genre. So like him or hate him, he was influential to say the least. RIP.
Kaiser_Eoghan
...holy shit George A Romero died? Now I have to watch the rest of his films.
Kaiser_Eoghan
Rei Hiroe is really dicking around with black lagoon lately, he's still releasing wasted chapters, just like re:creators, the most recent chapter of black lagoon was a slog.
Kaiser_Eoghan
Maybe the conversation and lives of others could sort of count as espionage stories to an extent.
Kaiser_Eoghan
If you're interested in spy fiction, Spy who came in from the cold, most wanted man, Smiley's people, deadly affair and tinker tailor soldier spy are your best bet.
SuperMario
@Travlos (regarding yoir earlier comment): yeah, it hit me as well that most of regular readers have been here even longer than myself. So thanks for sticking around mates
SuperMario
@Travlos: playing catch up with both Re:Creators and Virgin Soul yesterday. Agreed that last week's Re:Creators was weak because it focused on the Creators (they're not good) but last episode was on par again. Virgin Soul, I loved that episode that the girls go bacl to Nina's hometown
SuperMario
@anon1272074: I still haven't had the time to watch Pripri yet (probably in few more hours), but you bet I'm looking forward to it
Anonymous1272074
Then again, James Bond does count as a spy. I meant not a realistic one.
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